From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 7 Up–More than a biography, this fine study of our seventh president is also a history and analysis of the times in which he lived. Born in a log cabin to a strong-willed, Scotch-Irish widow, Jackson lacked formal education but was intelligent and could size up people and events, a useful trait for his work as a soldier, lawyer, judge, legislator, and president. Defeated by John Quincy Adams in the 1824 election even though he had won the popular vote, Jackson was elected president four years later, following a dirty campaign that smeared both him and his wife. He was a strong-willed leader whose opinions would be most unpopular today. Marrin discusses the changes to society brought about by the Industrial Revolution, the railroads, and the rise of the market economy. Written in an engaging style and with a wealth of detail, the book is enhanced by numerous black-and-white illustrations, including reproductions of political cartoons, portraits, and documents. The lists of sources and of additional reading are extensive.–Jane G. Connor, South Carolina State Library, Columbia
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Gr. 6-12. Jackson's life lends itself perfectly to Marrin's famously hyperbolic narrative style. The product of a rough-hewn, eye-for-an-eye backwoods culture, Jackson, who killed a man in a duel (the only president to have done so), won office as much through force of personality as by his brilliant military achievements. He delayed the Civil War's start by decades while effectively putting spurs to the young country's economic growth, and he brought "more suffering to Native Americans than any single white person in American history, an evil which must forever stain his memory." Along with biographical background, the author paints a vivid picture of Jacksonian society, including searing indictments of the general treatment of women, slaves, and Native peoples and passages on spitting and hygiene, which should not be read while eating. Illustrated with period paintings and cartoons, this thoroughly researched study presents multifaceted views of both a uniquely vigorous era, and the larger-than-life figure that embodied it. Extensive endnotes and a reading list are appended. John PetersCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved